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Star defender Virgil van Dijk returns to Liverpool

Star defender Virgil van Dijk returns to Liverpool
Star defender Virgil van Dijk returns to Liverpool
Joshua Ojele
ANALYST
Modified 15 Feb 2021
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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has returned from Dubai and is back on Merseyside as he continues his recovery from injury.

The Netherlands captain suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in Liverpool's 2-2 draw against Everton in October last year. He underwent surgery in London before beginning his recovery process at the club's new training center in early December.

He later moved on to the Middle East that same month to the renowned Nad al-Sheba as he worked on strengthening his knee.

Virgil van Dijk has now returned to Liverpool to continue his rehabilitation process with the club's medical team in hopes of getting back into the side as soon as possible.

The Liverpool record signing has been given a tailored training routine as he works his way back to full fitness.

The defending champions recently took the hopeful step of including Virgil van Dijk in their squads for the rest of their Premier League and Champions League campaigns.

Van Dijk, alongside his central defensive partner Joe Gomez, was included in Liverpool's squad for both competitions, even though his return date is unknown.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has stated that the move was based mostly on hope rather than actual expectation. Klopp said:

"At the moment, nobody, no doctor has told me there's a chance for Virgil to play in this season again. I don't want to say it is absolutely impossible, but it is not likely. It's not likely and we don't have to discuss these things really.
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"So like I said, if we have space we would put them all on, even when all the medical people tell us there is no chance, we put them all on because we believe in miracles from time to time.
"But if there is no place and we have to consider these things and say their chance is not too big [to be fit] so now we have to make a decision. If they are on the list then it is only because we hope for a miracle. That is it."

Virgil van Dijk returns to Liverpool

Liverpool v Leeds United - Premier League
Liverpool v Leeds United - Premier League

Liverpool initially coped with the departure of their Van Dijk in defense and did not look to be significantly impacted by his absence.

But after injuries to fellow senior centre-backs Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, Klopp has been forced to play the younger Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams in central defense.

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Midfielder Fabinho and club captain Jordan Henderson have also featured in central defense for the Reds, while Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies were brought in on deadline day from Schalke and Preston respectively to shore up the defense.

All options and pairings have proven highly unreliable so far, and the Merseyside outfit will be hoping Van Dijk's return happens sooner rather than later.

Should he recover in time to feature for the Reds this season, he would provide much-needed stability in defense, alongside a stronger midfield outlook as Jordan Henderson moves back into his natural role.

Published 15 Feb 2021, 18:35 IST
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